depressed teen holding her head

Many drugs are capable of causing physiological dependence, so that when a person quits taking the medicine he immediately experiences side effects. In many cases, these reactions may be similar to the original problem for which a person might have been given the prescription in the first place.

This can lead the patient or the physician to conclude that the original condition is still a serious problem, but this is not necessarily the case. The symptoms could be due to a rebound phenomenon. This reader has had a really difficult time withdrawing from Lyrica because of the rebound effect. Stopping Lyrica suddenly can trigger a range of miserable reactions, as we have described here.

Q. I have Lyme disease that was originally misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia. I was put on Lyrica to help with the constant pain.

For a while I thought it was working because if I accidentally skipped a dose I felt like I was dying. The awful pain, tremors, nausea and migraines I got when I didn’t take Lyrica were really a sign that I was totally dependent on it.

I’m now working to slowly wean myself off. That will take a long time because I’m on a high dose. I’m relieved to know that the depression, irritability and restless legs I’m experiencing is just my body coming down from the Lyrica.

Stopping Lyrica Suddenly

A. Pregabalin (Lyrica) has a reputation as a safe and well-tolerated treatment for nerve pain (neuropathy) and fibromyalgia. But readers have reported side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, confusion or brain fog, dry mouth and weight gain.

Stopping Lyrica suddenly can trigger symptoms such as insomnia, headache, anxiety, nausea, excessive sweating and diarrhea. The official prescribing information specifies gradual tapering over at least a week. Some people may require a much slower withdrawal process.

We are sorry that your misdiagnosis meant you took a medicine that was not helpful for your condition-and didn’t get the antibiotic that could help. To learn more about what a Lyme disease misdiagnosis can mean, you may want to listen to our interview with Dr. Neil Spector, author of Gone in a Heartbeat.

 

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  1. Pamela
    Weston Supr Made, UK
    Reply

    I am in the process of withdrawing from Pregabalin and feeling awful. I was given it for anxiety, which made me feel worse. I suffer from depression and anxiety, take Paroxetine for the depression, and it had worked for me for 20 plus years. I have the terrible shakes with anxiety, and they have increased since I reduced the dose and now have tremors throughout my whole body. I increased the Pregabalin to 100 twice a day, felt so sleepy, off balance, nauseous, so cut down to 75 and now down to 50. Psychiatrist told me to stop them slowly over a WEEK but reading here I am really AFRAID it will be longer.MY AHEAD IS BUZZING, FEEL LIGHTHEADED SICK DIARRHEA.

  2. Dave
    England
    Reply

    I have been on lyrica for eight years due to FM and ankloysing spondulitis the drug wasn’t giving me much relief from my symptoms, at this moment I’m coming of the drug 300mg twice daily reducing every three days by 50mg. I haven’t experienced any withdrawals symptoms maybe I’ve been lucky reading comments. I’m going to be starting Gabapentin next week has anyone used this drug I would like comments please.

    • Paul
      Colorado
      Reply

      I used gabapentin before the lyrica, was effective at first but the dose just kept going up and did not work anymore. Gained almost 20 pounds using it..

  3. Carol
    Reply

    I am so grateful to this site and thank everyone for all their brave and inspiring comments. What a relief to realize I am not over dramatizing my withdrawal symptoms!

    I have been assured many times that being on a low dose, up to 100mg per day, that I won’t have any problems tapering. My doctor is concerned, not with any possible withdrawal effects, rather that I am not looking after myself properly. I assure her I do, being very careful with diet and getting enough rest. It is so helpful to know I am not alone. It is such a battle with pain which is now getting worse with time after having fought to taper down to 25mg.

    On 100mg I was off balance all day, speaking as if through a fog, getting right and left mixed up. At least that has stopped although at precisely the same time (after 12 hours of taking 25mg) I feel echoes of all that for about 2 hours…then the pain hits. I have been on Lyrica for three years so can expect a similar amount of time to be completely free from its clutches. That will be a wonderful moment!

    Thank you everyone, your honest feedback is precious.
    Love and Peace to you amazing survivors!

    • Cheryl
      Franklin Furnace,Ohio
      Reply

      I am on Lyrica and Gabapentin. I want to wean off of Lyrica, I get so depressed and my body still hurts. I have a lot of things going on in my life, I dont want to feel this way. I still have pain when I was just taking the Gabapentin, but I cannot deal with this depression. Every body is different, I take 600 mg 4 times a day. I will continue with the Gabapentin. It is a good medication.

  4. Mary Ann
    Reply

    I would like to preface my story by saying that I understand lyrica might not cause everyone taking it to have terrible side effects or horrible withdrawal symptoms. That said, this was not my case. The reason I am writing this is to give support to those who want to quit. It is possible.

    There is a brighter day. When I decided to stop taking this nasty drug, I got online and read posts from those going before and it scared me to death. There seemed to be no encouragement or hope of being successful. But dear ones, there is hope. I was put on lyrica for fibromyalgia. At first it helped but as the years went by it wasn’t working so well. Plus there was weight gain, short term memory loss, walking problems, shortness of breath, etc,etc, etc.

    So two weeks ago I just stopped. Wasn’t my most stellar decision but my MO is to grit my teeth and plow through it. After being afraid I was going to die and then being afraid I wasn’t I have walked through hell with only a few more miles to go. Nausea, diarrhea, sweating, fatigue, etc. it’s been horrible.

    I am not recommending to anyone how they get off of it just that it can be done and I already can tell a difference. My memory is better and I can walk across the room without holding onto something. Don’t dispair. You can do it. I’m not completely over it yet but on the way.

  5. gwynnie
    uk,wales.
    Reply

    Hi, I am from the UK and have been on pregabalin for two years for spinal stenosis, have put on 20lbs inweight and feel like i have had a stroke i have heartfailure i came off the drug 3weeks ago and wondered if the sickness , and the awful dizzinus and stiffness in my legs will ever stop.

    I was taking 200mg per day, which I reduced to 100gm myself over a year ago, I then reduced the dose to 50 mg at night and now stopped i feel a liltle better the headaches have ceased, my sleep is still disturbed but at age 84 am used to not sleeping so well.

    I have asked the doctor what I should do before I began reducing the dose but he thought i was doing quite well by myself. hopes this helps it is long road but I am hoping I will soon be well.

    • Jo
      Grantham
      Reply

      I’ve just stopped 2×150 mg lyrics due to weight gain of a stone in 6 weeks and my spinal consultant insisting weight loss is my main aim (I am just over weight) after surgery- the dichotomy is extreme pain, v recovery. I am also on 4 x 300mg tramadol, 4 x 60mg co-codemol and 40 mg of amitriptyline.. yes a lot of crap to avoid pain.

      6 weeks post op I just stopped amitriptyline and lyrica– wow it has been hell: nausea, sickness (had to also stop tramadol and cocodamol due to cramps all down my static nerve and, pains in all my joints).

      BUT today, day 5, at last I can eat and drink again. I woke up more tolerant to heat, good as it’s been the hottest weekend this year ha ha! I am now finally sat in the sun and feel much better with the withdrawal symptoms reducing. I am still on tramadol, and cocodamol, but feeling a million times better.

      It has been hard, no sleep and lots more pain than I expected, but I have had to get these out of my system.

      I know my GP will be livid, but I was a zombie, and virtually fasting and put a stone on!!!

      Be strong, be prepared and don’t go back.

  6. Paul
    colorado
    Reply

    I have been taking lyrica for over four years now for trigeminal neuralgia at 75mg a day. Recently I had a flare up and was advised by my doctor to increase my dose first It doubled it then went all the way up to 450 mg a day. Did that for less than a week due to blurred vision and dizziness. Every time I have tried to reduce my dose I have been plagued by severe headaches. I already had restless legs before the lyrica, but, when I reduce the restlessness is unbearable and the foot cramps are killer. My insurance no longer covers lyrica and now I am tapering off. Down to 150 mg for the last few weeks and about to switch to 100 for a few weeks. So scared that my headaches will come back and the searing pain. restlessness is still extreme an I have had to up my dose of ropinerole to counter it. So am I treating my neuralgia? or am I treating my Lyrica? this has me very confused. I am looking into getting the nerve deadened, but, is the nerve the issue? I don’t know anymore thank you for all of you comments, this has been a real eye opener and I don’t like what I see…and the blurred vision doesn’t make it any better.

  7. Wilma H
    Reply

    I too have been on Lyrica for 3 years now. Seems to help with Fibromyalga, however the side effects are awful. Excessive weight gain, dizziness, restless legs, depression and anxiety. FATIGUE! ALL the time. Please everyone, don’t blindly believe Docters. Remember, we, the sick ones are their bread and butter.

  8. Marsheila
    OK
    Reply

    I took Lyrica for 2 years and it really helped my fybromyalgia. However, I could not afford to keep taking it, so my doctor switched me from Lyrica to Cymbalta. He had me stop Lyrica cold turkey in exchange for first dose of Cymbalta. For the next 5 days, I was nauseous, and then began uncontrollable vomiting. At first emergency room visit, they treated me as if I was withdrawing from my pain meds, Oxycodone, gave me oral antibiotics and sent me home. I could not keep the antibiotic down, and continued to vomit constantly with nothing on my stomach. I returned to E.R. on day 5 of vomiting and this time brought my pain meds with me so that they could count them and see that I wasn’t overtaking that med nor was I having withdrawal from it. They treated me with ulcer meds, ran antibiotic I.V. for 3 days, and vomiting finally stopped. I went to doctor that directed me to stop Lyrica and start Cymbalta, and he tells me that what happened to me was SSRI Syndrome and had nothing to do with stopping Lyrica. He was very defensive and became unfriendly when I questioned his judgment in stopping Lyrica. I have history of Lyme and fibromyalgea, along with deteriorating spinal condition. I will not try any other pain management supplement after this experience, and am seeking new GP. I read up on SSRI symdrome and it can be lethal. I feel sad that my own research is better than visiting a doctor.

  9. Mare
    Chicago
    Reply

    I was on 50mg 3x a day for pain associated with 3rd degree burn on my leg. When I was still feeling pain, doc upped the dose to 75mg 3x a day. I started experiencing confusion, severe short-term memory loss, losing things (lost my wallet and cell many times), being in the middle of sentence and forgot what I was talking about, not being able to grasp a word and having to describe it (for instance, the words “side-effect”, I stopped mid-conversation and said, “you know, what happens to you when you take a medication”.)

    I decided to wean myself off. I was only on it for about a month, so I’m gradually reducing the dose. I think they prescribe Lyrica because it’s being pushed by the drug company. My doc didn’t even have to write a scrip because she had so may free samples from the salesman, and a coupon for free. I didn’t get much pain relief, and the side-effects were too much for me, so that’s why I’m quitting. No noticeable withdrawal symptoms, but I haven’t been on it too long.

  10. Suzanne
    12413
    Reply

    Lyrica withdrawal is horrible and I wish I was never put on it. I have fibromyalgia and have been on it for years. I did stop it for a year a couple of years ago and I wish that I never started it again. I can’t sleep, hot flashes, panic attacks, depression, diarrhea and anxiety. I’m getting off of it for good. Lyrica is evil.

  11. C
    Alabama
    Reply

    I am on day 5 of coming off of opioids and my Dr. Was going to prescribe we Lyrica starting this week and thanks to reading these post, I will not take it. I was trying to find a rx that didn’t cause as bad of withdrawals as pain meds when you don’t take it but obviously Lyrica isn’t it. I can’t imagine worse than these past 5 days.

    • Mary Ann
      Missouri
      Reply

      The smartest thing you will ever do is what you have done. Stay away from lyrica. Run for your life.

  12. Linda Hill
    Experienced
    Reply

    I just recently experienced withdrawal symptoms from Lyrica. I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me. Ran out of the medication on Fri – wasn’t able to get Dr to issue a refill rx until that Tues – by this time I was so sick, nausea, body pain, foot pain, lack of focus, weakness, burning sensations in my skin. I didn’t know what was happening. Once I took the first capsule within 3-4 hours I could feel my body responding…..
    at this point I lay there realizing I had experienced a withdrawal. I’m taking 200mg 3x a day. So now my concern is my body still sick, is the Lyrica just masking it (diabetic neuropathy/fibromyalgia

  13. Amanda
    charlotte, nc
    Reply

    My insurance just changed and I can no longer afford 225mg twice a day and trying to come off slowly. My skin is burning and crawling. I mean literally I can can’t sit still. I have fibromaylgia as well as a spinal corn injury. This keeps me off of heavy pain meds. I have come off of those so much easier than this stuff. I feel like I’m going to die.

    • Tony
      Virginia
      Reply

      Iam been on 100 mg for one month, it seemed to help my neurapathy in feet, due to chemo over exposure. I started to move around more, because I felt better. When that happened, about 2 weeks I got worse, so doc up it to 3 times a day.Not helping.. trying to come off now, it’s been hell.

  14. Gwynnie
    Australia NSW
    Reply

    I was on Lyrica for 3 years for neuropathy from nerve impingement. The dose kept going up and up till I was taking 100mg in the AM and 225 mg every PM. My brain turned to mush and I had serious weight gain. Twice I tried to stop cold turkey and fell in a heap. Then I found info about getting off it slowly.

    It took over 4 months to taper down to zero. Then the fun began. The withdrawals were worse than anything, even worse than opiate type meds. Unbelievable, and the Drs think there is no withdrawal, but there is and it ain’t pretty.

    Do be warned do your homework. Research everything you are prescribed. That’s what I do now and if it sounds too risky, I don’t take it . It is my body and my brain that’s at stake here. Good luck.

    • Linda
      Ontario, Canada
      Reply

      Hi Gwynnie. Just read your comments about lyrica. I am presently on 900 mg per day for my nerve impingement and due to the side effects, want to wean off. As you know, it is the rock and the hard place situation. If you have managed to wean yourself off the lyrica, what are you doing to manage the nerve pain now? Thanks.

  15. Linda
    Summervile, SC
    Reply

    I was on a low dose of Lyrica 100mg twice a day for misdiagnosed dental pain. I could not drive or walk straight. I was confused, out of it, and had 8 kidney infections in 13 months. I was taken off of it in one week and put on Trilepal for 2 months. I had a horrible and long withdrawal: nausea, fatigue, and headaches. Had pain, lost weight (30lbs in one month), and had burning skin. Experienced vomiting, shortness breath, dry and blurry eyes. I also had extreme dry throat, heightened hearing, and over-the top anxiety. I went back to work still sick after 4 months. The fatigue, burning skin, dry eyes, and dry mouth went on for another 9 months. I was miserable. I spent $4,000 out of pocket for medical bills.

    I finally saw a neurosurgeon who said it would take as long as I had been on Lyrica (13 months )
    for my nerve endings to return to normal. I also saw that same time span mentioned by two internet. This past July, 2015 the horrible burning skin, dryness in eyes, and dry mouth finally went away after 13 months of withdrawal.

    How many people can afford to be out if work so long? How many people can handle the withdrawal – being out of work, losing job, losing home, and losing family? We should be warned about these anti-seizure drugs by our doctors before we ever take them. There is no way you can work during the first months of withdrawal.

    • adam
      New York
      Reply

      so at the end how did you finally get off it> what did you taper down to?

      • Lisa
        CA
        Reply

        Boy, do I relate to you all! I was on Lyrica for fibromyalgia for nearly 2 years, and for the first 3 months it was really wonderful in relieving the joint pains. I was on 75 mg. once a day, which is actually a low dose. However, that stopped, and when I told the doctor that it wasn’t working now, and that I was having swelling in my feet and ankles to the point I couldn’t wear any shoes and even my Crocs wide sandals were painful, his response was to double the dose! It was the worst thing to advise.

        By the end of 18 months, I knew that this drug was going to end up killing me, and I started titrating down to only at night, one 75 mg. pill. After 6 weeks, I started taking it once every other day, and the swelling of my feet finally reduced to where I could once again wear tennis shoes. Encouraged, I started taking Epsom Salts baths, added Vitamin D3, Magnesium Citrate supplements, and lost 5 of the 10 lbs. I had gained over the past year. Then, I reduced taking it to only once every 3 days cycle, and then started the following week on the one every 4th day cycle. That’s when the rebound effect hit me with a flushing rash on my face down to my chest within 5 minutes of taking that one pill. On top of that, I began to have a horrible itchy rash under my breasts (my first one in 68 years!) that my female doctor diagnosed as a yeast infection. While there, I told her that I was titrating off the Lyrica and the allergic reaction that I’d had, and she agreed that I should continue to do so. This went on for another 3 months, and no matter what she prescribed, the yeast infection under my breasts continued to plague me.

        I read up on natural cures, and stopped using corn starch (yeast feeds on corn starch!) and switched to arrowroot powder. That started healing the rash within a week. However, I stopped taking Lyrica completely for an entire week, and that’s when the rebound side effects hit me with a blinding Migraine complete with auras. I’d never had a migraine before so at first, I thought I was having a stroke or an aneurysm! My daughter took me to my doctor’s office (husband and wife team), I also vomited just outside his office. Because my blood pressure had skyrocketed to 200/90 from the pain I was in at the time, he had my daughter take me straight to the hospital emergency room. Long story short: No one understood what was going on because of my age, they immediately assumed I was having a stroke or worse. I kept telling them it was a Migraine, most likely from coming off the Lyrica, but in May, 2016, no one seemed to be aware of these side effects. It was an absolute nightmare, and $28,000 of tests. and 24 hours later, I finally had had enough and checked myself out of the hospital just before midnight. All of the tests came out fine, but it was weeks before I would know that.

        I returned to the female half of the team for follow-up because she listens better. Finally, I’ve lost 25 additional lbs. since May, 2016 to now, April, 2017 and feel so much healthier. However, my eyes are still blurry, I no longer hurt like I used to, and my short-term memory is finally returning, but the worst is the dizziness. I have to use a walker now to leave the house, catch a bus, or safely walk on uneven surfaces like common sidewalks and streets. It has been 11 months, and I am concerned I will never regain my balance and vision. However, my blood pressure is back to almost normal ranges, except when I exercise. It is erratic, but “at rest” readings are 122/70 to 140/74 now. Also, my body skin texture has improved dramatically!! No longer have scaly, bumpy skin and even my shins have improved greatly since stopping Lyrica. It’s been a long road back to my pre-Lyrica health, but I’m happy to be alive and getting better. Hope this helps you all, and wishing good health for everyone! Blessed Be.

      • Cathy
        Arizona
        Reply

        Hello, I have also been on lyrica for many years (75mg 3 a day) for deep bone pain. I also have gone through the horrible withdrawals when I was unable to get to my PCP on time to have my script filled.I still take lyrica (75mg once a day) but I also now use Red Borneo Kratom tea (1 teaspoon each cup) X 2 cups a day for 5 days then 3-4 days off.

        It helps with my bone pain and it stops ANY withdrawal symptom I may have from not taking the lyrica as much. However, I think nearly ANY medication that helps with pain, anxiety etc. will cause some kind of withdrawal if taken long enough and I know that each person is different and can have different outcomes. All I know is that it does help me and it could very well help others. I wish you all a very long and healthy life.
        Cathy

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